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More than 40% of creative businesses have lost all income amid Covid-19 crisis

More than 40 per cent of creative businesses in the UK estimate that they have lost 100 per cent of their income due to the live events blackout caused by Covid-19.

The Creative Industries Federation (CIF), the membership body for the sector in the UK, unveiled the new data in an open letter to the UK government, in which it called for immediate grant support for the businesses and charities it represents.

The survey of 2,000 creative businesses and individuals found that 42 per cent of organisations have lost all revenue since the outbreak. In addition, 62 per cent of freelancers have seen their monthly turnover fall by 100 per cent since the pandemic began.

CIF also reported that 62 per cent of all respondents said they are facing considerable or very considerable cash flow issues, while three quarters of freelancers are worried that Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) grant payments will not be available until June.

The open letter to the government states: “Despite welcome changes to the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, we know from our previous experience with the Enterprise Finance Guarantee – on which CBILS is based – that many creative businesses will still struggle to access these loans, and for those who do, this finance will come too late.

“Many charities are also still not eligible because their trading income falls beneath the 50% threshold […] Grant support is needed now.”

Creative Industries Federation chief executive Caroline Norbury is requesting that the government fire-up the dormant Regional Growth Fund mechanism to rapidly build a business grant scheme dedicated to creative micros and SMEs.

She is also asking for support for Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) to divert Local Growth Deal Funding, and other public funding pots, into grant schemes that creative businesses and entrepreneurs in their region can access at pace.

Finally, Norbury said she wants the government to introduce a Creative Industries Distress Fund, established by DCMS, to rapidly respond to bids for support based on urgent needs that are unique to the sector.

Norbury said: “The business support offered so far by government is very welcome – and unprecedented – but a large part of the creative industries sector is still falling through the gaps.

“This matters because, as one of the fastest growing sectors in the UK, pre-COVID-19, the creative sector will be critical to driving the UK’s economic recovery – and transforming lives for the better in every community – as we re-build.”